Thursday, October 23, 2014

Drama in Houston...

A storm of outrage is building against Houston's mayor who, if you believe her story, didn't know that her office had issued subpoenas demanding some area pastors turn over a broad spectrum of communications with their congregations. The subpoenas demand pretty much anything the pastors have written or said concerning gender issues, homosexuality, the mayor herself, or anything to do with the HERO ordinance she recently signed. The new ordinance permits, among other things, trans-gendered individuals to use the opposite sex's public bathrooms, which you might imagine has thrown a whole lot of folks into a tizzy.

I have to admit that I was huffing indignantly along with everyone else. But what has begun to bother me is not the idiocy of permitting biologically male individuals into women's bathrooms and vice versa, but our reaction to the subpoenas. On Facebook alone, the outcry has approached a shrillness one might associate with truly heinous crimes--like the beheading of children in Iraq just a short time ago. Which makes me nervous we could be missing the bigger picture.

Of course we are entitled to the same respect and rights of citizenship as anyone else, and the event in Houston is alarming. But an alarm warns of danger, and we want to correctly identify the danger. Could it be that it's mostly that we're looking in the wrong place for our help? Our government and the majority culture have long been turning away from a Judeo-Christian foundation... we just mostly didn't notice, because they mostly left us alone. And now they're not leaving us alone and we're surprised, and alarmed and angry. But we shouldn't be--Jesus told us it would be like this. (Luke 21:16, John 15:18, 16:2, and others). Our rights as Americans have given us benefits Christians in the rest of the world can only dream of. Perhaps Houston serves as a timely reminder us that we are citizens of Heaven first and America second. Our rights are a blessing, but were never intended to preserve the church. Our rights abrogated by unjust (and ridiculous) laws will not kill the church either, but might help us trust the rule of law less and God's protection more.

By all means we should engage the issue, and remind society at large that the Constitution still applies to Christians. But in addition we might want to reflect on what this latest incident might mean...to discern the times by checking Scripture to see where this sort of thing falls on God's timeline. And pray. Our highest, best appeal is to God. We belong to Him and he has the ultimate responsibility for our rights and reputation. And He created and is running the game plan the world is unwittingly playing by. If this infringement of our rights shakes us into asking God what's going on, then Houston's mayor may have done the church in America a great service.

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